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BSB expands regulatory powers to enhance public protection

BSB expands regulatory powers to enhance public protection


The Bar Standards Board implements changes, approved by the Legal Services Board, to broaden its authority to protect the public

In June 2023, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) launched a consultation to gather opinions on proposed amendments aimed at expanding its regulatory powers. These amendments focused on enhancing the BSB's and Disciplinary Tribunals' abilities to impose interim restrictions or suspensions on barristers' practising certificates to better protect the public.

By December 2023, a summary of the consultation responses and the BSB's reactions were published. Following the Legal Services Board's approval, the BSB has implemented two significant changes:

  1. Interim Restrictions by Disciplinary Tribunals: Disciplinary Tribunals now have the authority to impose interim restrictions on a barrister’s practising certificate or withdraw practising rights when misconduct is found but the sanction decision is deferred. This measure aims to protect the public and uphold public interest during the interim period.

  2. Expanded Referral Powers for Interim Suspension Panels: The BSB can now refer individuals to an interim suspension panel on the grounds that such actions are necessary to protect the public or are in the public interest. This extension broadens the circumstances under which immediate protective measures can be taken against barristers under investigation.

Sara Jagger, the BSB’s Director of Legal and Enforcement, expressed satisfaction with the Legal Services Board's approval, emphasising that these changes will enhance the BSB’s ability to safeguard the public and maintain confidence in the legal profession.